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Digital Subscriptions > Cottage Life > SPRING 2018 > Small wonders

Small wonders

Tiny, off-grid cabins designed to bring you close to nature and keep your footprint light

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“What’s the most eco-friendly, low-impact place we can build that’s still comfortable?” That question led to the 240 sq. ft. Auburn cabin.

Laura Mendes and John Loerchner are the kind of couple who spend all their time together. “We’re fully integrated,” says John, chuckling. When they’re not running their art studio or working on large-scale art installations, they’re hiking and camping in the backwoods of Ontario. But escaping into the wild became trickier with their three-year-old daughter, Ava, in tow. “There’s camping, and then there are cottages,” says John. “Our family needed something in between.” And so, they built it: the Auburn—a small, off-grid, portable cabin that sits on their plot on Penyck Lake, Ont., where it serves as a base camp for outdoor exploring. They enjoyed the process so much that they built another microcabin, dubbed “Mason,” nearby. Now, the couple have become experts in designing smart, small spaces that bring people closer to nature. “We’re not building tiny homes,” says John. “We’re building tiny cabins. There’s a difference. We’re designing a place to hang out, not a place to live.”

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